The CRM market is expected to reach about $43 billion worldwide by 2024, according to digital marketing experts.
Marketing CRMs are powerful tools that can help you accelerate the growth and develop the turnover of your company while eliminating friction, but also by facilitating collaboration between your different teams, managing your customer contacts, synchronizing your data, automating many daily tasks, and much more.
In the rest of this article, we will try to provide answers to all the questions you have about CRMs.
1- What is a marketing CRM?
A CRM marketing tool (an acronym for Customer Relationship Management), is a technology that allows you to manage all the relationships and interactions of your company with its customers and prospects.
The goal behind such a platform is simple: improve business relationships to grow your business. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to their customers, streamline their marketing, sales, and after-sales service processes, and improve their profitability.
When we talk about CRM in the field of business or e-commerce, we usually refer to a CRM system or platform, that is to say, a tool or software that helps with contact management, sales management, striving for better productivity, etc.
CRM tools are primarily used to manage customer relationships throughout the customer lifecycle, which covers marketing, sales, and customer service/after-sales interactions.
A CRM solution gives all the components of your company the opportunity to focus on its relationships with a variety of people — including customers, colleagues, suppliers, subcontractors, etc.
2- Why use a CRM?
Companies need CRM tools in 2022 because the competition is getting tougher and tougher.
Today, customers not only expect the products or services they acquire to keep their promises, but they also expect the purchase process to be quick and convenient.
A good customer relationship management software helps you simplify your processes so that you can offer a positive shopping experience that will encourage customers to come back to you, instead of going to the competition.
Here are some of the most common problems that such a tool can solve, in order to create a faster and more convenient customer journey :
Limited communication channels
If some of your customers have a preferred method of communication that you do not use, they will rightly think that it is not worth taking an interest in your brand.
Good CRM applications provide an omnichannel communication medium, which allows sales representatives and customer service representatives to meet customers where they are already, whether on a social network, on a page of your website, or on your email mailing list.
In addition, high-performance CRMs are able to consolidate all these communication channels.
For example, if you have interacted with a customer via email, phone, and Facebook, all these interactions from different channels can easily be viewed from a single entry point. This saves your marketing teams and sales reps from having to search for this customer’s history with your company on each separate platform.
Workflow is a process designed to carry out a task to its end. Every time there is a delay, this end date is pushed back, your employees are frustrated and priority goals are momentarily set aside.
The workflows or “workflow” of a company are usually organized into a sequence of step-by-step actions. The more complex the process, the more likely it is that the machine will break at some point. A CRM software provides tools to organize your workflows, regardless of their complexity, making them repeatable and simple to follow for everyone involved.
The term “information silos” is used to refer to the fact that there is no efficient way to share data between services. This compartmentalization can lead to chaos.
CRMs provide collaborative communication tools that allow companies to share the information they have with their various departments, to make the best possible use of it.
A superficial knowledge of customers
You can’t serve your customers properly if you don’t really understand what they want or how they behave. Modern CRM solutions are equipped with tools capable of using social media to your advantage, allowing you to better understand what your customers like and get an idea about the latest trends.
Opaque analysis reports and forecasts
The analysis reports give you an accurate idea of your performance, while the sales forecasts provide you with an overview of your future performance.
But without up-to-date data, do not expect to get this type of information
CRMs provide reporting tools that allow you to configure your data in easy-to-use visuals for presentations, goal setting, and progress tracking.
In addition, the sales forecasting features offered by most CRMs can help your company predict future sales, making your planning work easier.
Lower-than-average remote productivity
Remote working has many advantages, but also some pitfalls, especially in terms of productivity.
CRMs are a fantastic tool to ensure that productivity doesn’t drop when some of your employees are working remotely.
Thus, cloud-based CRM platforms allow your teams to have access to their work tools even if they are not in the office.
3- What are the main features of CRM software?
A good CRM software should have most (if not all) of the following features :
Coordination and automation of your sales pipeline
One of the most remarkable features of a well-integrated CRM system must be its ability to increase the productivity of your sales pipeline.
When you develop the different stages of the sales process of your CRM, you must be able to perform the following actions :
- Automate prospecting and lead generation
- Simplify the identification of qualified prospects thanks to lead scoring tools
- Organize personalized quotes based on detailed customer data
- Track successes and failures for each ongoing sales process
- Provide relevant information that indicates the reasons why a sale is or is not being made
An easy-to-read and use dashboard
The dashboard of your marketing CRM tool is the real-time visual interface that you and your team see every day. Thus, for CRM integration purposes, it is preferable that this interface is easy to use and even customizable.
Whatever your goals, the structure of your team, and the processes put in place, your CRM dashboard should present the following tools :
- Activity tracking: calendars, notes, appointments, and other tasks
- Visually organized emails, calls, and messages
- Analytics reports for best deals, new deals, closed deals, etc.
- Tracking revenue goals and information about your sales pipeline
- Sales forecasts and sales performance indicators.
Unified contact management
A quality CRM must integrate a contact management feature that will help you go beyond simply storing the names and data of potential and current customers in a centralized contact database.
This fundamental CRM feature should also allow you to do the following things :
- Categorize, group, and search contacts to customize your marketing and sales strategies
- Track all interactions, emails, calls, and messages to ensure that all your communication is intelligently set up and personalized.
Data-driven analysis reports
One of the most interesting features offered by CRM software is the analysis of your main sales and marketing indicators, preceded by their collection and organization.
Thanks to the effortless generation of analysis reports of your CRM data, you will have a 360° point of view on your sales and marketing operations.
This data will allow you to :
- Quickly identify the key factors that lead to the success of your interactions with customers
- To refine your sales processes
- To detect areas that require optimizations
Mobile and cloud CRM applications
Most CRM solutions today offer a mobile application with a cloud service that users can access from anywhere.
The latest trends that we are seeing in the world of digital marketing actually show that teams that use mobile and cloud-based CRM solutions are almost three times more efficient than those that use traditional CRM systems.
With more employees working from home than ever before, companies today need easy remote access to big data. Mobile and cloud CRM solutions offer companies a data repository with unified processes, procedures, workflows, and monitoring, accessible to authorized persons at any time.
4- How does the sales process of CRM software work?
The so-called “CRM process” is the workflow that you use to speed up your traditional sales process and make your customer experience the best possible.
Here’s how a CRM tool can make your sales process much more efficient :
- It accelerates lead acquisition: Automated and data-driven prospecting and lead generation tools fill your sales pipeline quickly.
- It speeds up the lead management process: this tool notes, routes and tracks all your leads and sales activities thanks to a platform that knows exactly what goes into your funnel, where these people need to go, and what their impact will be.
- It optimizes commercial engagement: “feeds”, establishes quotes and concludes sales with a personalized approach, enabled thanks to customer information and e-mail automation.
- It leverages your sales data: Powerful sales analysis features allow your sales teams to create reports, forecast and improve their sales processes based on the data.
- It encourages loyalty: an easily accessible, personalized, omnichannel and conversational shopping experience – from the awareness phase to the after—sales service – transforms prospects into long-term engaged and satisfied customers.
By trying to make every customer interaction personal and meaningful, your customer base is less likely to go to the competition to see how they can meet their needs.
A strong buyer/seller relationship is based on respect for each other’s time and needs. A CRM software can help you provide faster and more personalized service to each customer so that fewer buyers are likely to fall through the cracks due to a negative shopping experience with your company.
Now let’s take a concrete look at how CRM platforms improve companies’ sales processes.
Many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, may believe that a simple contact database software is good enough to track contacts and interactions with customers.
But in reality, companies that do not use software are at a great disadvantage, regardless of their size.
Effective customer relationship management software streamlines marketing and sales activities, both inbound and outbound. Not only does it manage the evolution of relationship marketing strategies, but it helps your company organize all of the following :
- Every call, text, email, and oral interaction with customers
- Your sales prospects, your lead generation, and your current customers
- Information about your internal teams, your suppliers, and even your competitors
- The creation of sales pipelines and marketing campaigns
- Access to pending offers and prices
- Real-time analytical data for your sales team to make customer-centric business decisions
If your company does not use a CRM system, then you are missing out on one of the most powerful marketing and sales tools developed over the past thirty years. In the United States alone, about 90% of companies with 10 or more employees already benefit from CRM software systems.
5- The main advantages of CRM software for your teams
The better you know your customers, the better you will be able to serve them. CRM tools allow you to understand your customers, respond more quickly to their questions and requests, and develop ever better sales strategies and tactics.
Here are some of the most important benefits that using a CRM tool will provide you :
Automate your sales pipelines
CRM automation tools should be intuitive, and fast and allow your sales reps to focus more on what they love: fostering successful customer relationships and closing sales.
Thanks to the automation processes offered by CRM software, your company will be able to shorten its offer proposal deadlines from a few days to a few hours, which saves time and money.
In fact, some digital marketing experts estimate that about a third of all sales tasks can be automated, and companies that integrate sales automation have higher conversion rates of more than 50%.
Discover who your customers are with Analytics
Being able to dive into customer data gives you a unique insight into who your customers are and why they are acting in this or that way. By analyzing the data you have about your customers, you will discover a real gold mine: quantities of information that will allow you to better understand the people to whom you are trying to sell your products or services.
With the help of a CRM’s analytics tools, you can segment your contacts into different customer bases for better targeting of your marketing messages, and even perform accurate predictive modeling.
In the end, you get a more accurate overview of what customers like about your company, but also what can be improved.
Gauge your sales performance
Looking at the numbers is still the best way to measure the performance of your sales team.
However, CRM tools allow you to closely monitor your performance indicators, or “metrics” and determine if your work is paying off.
Thanks to CRM software, you can track everything, from the hours spent performing certain tasks, the number of contacts, the success rate, the emails sent, etc.
It is this visibility that allows sales teams and managers to refine their daily operations.
Get higher conversion rates
A marketing CRM allows you to know which steps your prospects want to follow. It is this better understanding of their tastes and behaviors that will give you the opportunity to develop a specific communication, create messages more likely to meet their desires, and guide them to the next step.
A CRM can increase your conversion rates by 300%, know this.
Boost your customer satisfaction
A CRM system does not just create a centralized repository of customer data. A good Customer Relationship Management software can also integrate with your customer service platform and help you understand when customers need help.
Satisfied customers are loyal customers, and loyal customers recommend your company to their friends and network.
Make more sales
All the benefits we have listed add up to the ultimate benefit: more sales. On average, companies that acquire CRM tools see an increase of almost 30% in their sales, which is a considerable figure.
By having the ability to generate qualified leads, easily track sales opportunities throughout your pipeline and automate repetitive tasks and actions, there is no doubt that CRM is an essential tool to boost your results, without the need to completely overhaul your entire business organization.
6- How to choose your CRM software
If you are looking for a CRM solution for your business, there are some key factors that you need to consider.
The current CRM market gives you a wide range of choices of tools, solutions, and platforms, each with its own functions, features, and packages.
Here are some of the most important criteria to consider when buying a CRM :
Customizable vs. custom CRM
Be careful, because when it comes to CRM, the terms “customizable” and “tailor-made” do not mean the same thing.
A customizable CRM is an already built product, from which you can choose certain options and features. These out-of-the-box solutions are designed to fit most business models, and generally offer enough customization options to allow you to adapt the software to your business, without having to start from scratch.
Custom-made CRMs, on the other hand, are created from scratch. They are developed thinking only about the activities and needs of the client company, and the latter obviously has a say in each feature that will compose its future CRM.
Logically, such software is much more expensive and takes much longer to integrate.
Cloud Vs On-premises CRM
A Cloud CRM is a web-based software, which is hosted on your provider’s servers and accessible via an Internet browser. This means that your employees can access their CRM software from almost anywhere, as long as they have a computer and Internet access.
It should also be emphasized that cloud CRM tools are usually offered in the form of a monthly or annual subscription, which includes all updates and maintenance services managed by the provider as part of the payment plan.
On-site CRM, on the other hand, usually involves a one-time purchase and your tool is installed directly on your company’s hardware. Since there are no ongoing costs after the initial purchase, all maintenance and upkeep of the software must be handled by a dedicated IT team.
CRM integrations have the advantage of allowing companies to merge their CRM solution with other applications and software that they can use, such as accounting and payment platforms, email providers, such as Google, calendars, and signature collection programs like DocuSign, etc.
The best CRMs offer a wide range of third-party integrations. This means that as your business grows and your needs increase, you always have a multitude of options to connect your CRM with your other technological tools.
Many CRMs offer free trials, and fortunately, even if the cost of a cloud CRM is not exorbitant, the time and effort required to implement a new software still represent a risk, in case the tool is not suitable for your business.
For this reason, it is smarter to take advantage of the free trial offers offered by some CRM brands.
This type of trial can give you a precise idea of how the software fits into your company and save you time on getting started.
Mobile sales management
More and more CRM brands are offering mobile access for smartphones and tablets, which allows your marketing teams and sales reps to keep an eye on their work at all times.
This type of feature is especially useful for sales reps when they are on the go.
7- The best CRM software platforms
Finally, it’s time to review some of the best CRM platforms, which are popular with companies in 2022 :
Hubspot is a popular choice for companies that are just starting out with this type of software that specializes in customer relationship management.
The American brand, the initiator of Inbound Marketing, offers a platform with a dashboard centralizing all your most important CRM tools, which makes your data easy to find and understand.
Like most CRMs, Hubspot offers customization possibilities and multiple features :
- Dashboard with reports
- Transaction tracking
- Email tracking.
- Pipeline management
- Conversation intelligence,
Salesforce is a well-known and appreciated heavyweight in the world of customer relationship management software.
Thanks to its artificial intelligence capabilities, users can automate a large part of the usual workflow. This is a clever way to free your teams from tedious data entry and help them focus more on pure sales.
The list of features offered by Salesforce CRM tools is impressive :
- Opportunity management
- Sales forecast
- Document management
- Call center management
- Management of commissions
- Automation from quote to payment
The ZohoCRM is a product designed to meet the needs of all companies, regardless of their size.
This platform comes with all the features that we have a right to expect from a major CRM software brand, and even has an artificial intelligence tool named Zia.
Zia can answer your questions, retrieve sales reports, and even take notes under dictation.
Here are some other features offered by ZohoCRM :
- Transaction management
- Process management
- Workflow automation
- Orchestration of the purchase journey
Zendesk Sell is also one of the best sales marketing CRM systems on the market.
It is equipped with a variety of CRM tools (including a mobile application) and even has a self-service portal that allows your customers to do a lot of things independently without having to contact your teams and your customer service.
Sell’s “email intelligence” tool allows you to obtain a transparent follow-up of all email communications, as well as real-time push notifications, activity reports, and email template automation.
Every call made by your marketing and sales teams is recorded and leads to the production of scripts, notes, and ready-to-use call analysis so that you can keep an eye on the number of calls, their duration, content, and results.
Here are the most prominent features of this customizable CRM :
- Call analysis
- Sales dashboard and reporting
- Email tracking and automation
- Activity reports
- Out-of-the-box integrations
- Contact management
- Lead management